Monday, May 12, 2008
The Police Farce - we need more bobbies on the beat.
Imagine the scene in a typical British town: near the bus stop some drunks are causing trouble, over by the phone box there are people selling drugs, and outside the shops there are kids throwing litter on to the pavements.
The man in the newspaper shop says he has phoned the police but they never come.
In the UK, the police have been described as a farce.
According to The Scottish Mail on Sunday, 11 May 2008, as few as 4 in every 100 police officers may be on the beat (on foot patrol) on the streets of Scotland on a typical day.
So, where are the rest of the police?
1. They are on courses.
2. They are guarding important people and places.
3. They are driving around in cars, sometimes too fast.
4. They are doing office work.
5. They are off sick
6. They are on holiday
7. They are having rest days
In one area, Grampian, which has 1,371 officers, only 583 were available for duty on one particular day that was surveyed.
"Scotland had only 148 police officers on the beat at any one time until recently, despite its biggest city suffering from the highest murder rates in Europe per head of the population, new research reveals." - Only 148 Officers On Beat To Police All Of Scotland (from Sunday ...
"More officers are on holiday or doing paperwork than are on patrol at any one time... 7.8% are on holiday; 31.4% on rest days. 16.6% in court, training, or off sick; 11% doing paperwork... "
Only one in 13 police are on the beat in Scotland - Scotland on Sunday
On 11 February 2008, we learnt the following from The Daily Mail (Inside Britain's police farce: From the first 999 call to the ...):
"Of the 5,428,000 crimes recorded by the police last year, the police solved 1,475,000.
"Fewer than half (47 per cent) of offenders were charged or summoned to appear in court. And of these 693,250, only 406,000 (58 per cent) actually got to court. The rest of the cases were either dropped or discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service.
"Some 303,000 - a far cry from that original figure of crimes committed - finally reached the point of being sentenced by a judge or magistrate, and of these, just 74,000 were jailed."
Think of an area where the streets are covered in discarded chewing gum, plastic bags and vomit; an area where young people commit acts of drunken vandalism. You can be pretty sure that in police HQ there will be too many middle managers and top managers sitting around drinking tea.
Now think of an area where there is a visible police presence; an area where you see your local friendly policemen on patrol.
Some of Scotland's most crime-ridden areas have seen crime rates fall by a fifth since old-fashioned police street patrols were introduced. (bobbies on the beat do cut crime)
In Glasgow, in 2007, serious assaults fell by 38 % in city-centre zones that were given extra police foot patrols at nights and weekends.
Edinburgh has seen a similar success.
Jackie Muller, secretary of the federation's Lothian and Borders branch, is quoted as saying: "My membership are telling me they would be able to give a better service to the public if they were out in the communities in which they serve."
According to The Scotsman newspaper, "much of the cost of upping front-line officer numbers in Glasgow will come from a reduction of middle-management officers, such as superintendents, at Strathclyde Police's headquarters in the city."
The Scottish Government, now run by the Scottish National Party, has said it will fund 500 additional officers, with another 500 being funded by cutting red tape and dissuading other staff from retiring.
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